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A week left to bid to run Staffordshire countryside estates, including Cannock Chase and Chasewater

By Lichfield Mercury  |  Posted: March 10, 2017

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Staffordshire County Council's countryside estate has six country parks, nine picnic areas and three disused railway lines.

Staffordshire County Council's countryside estate has six country parks, nine picnic areas and three disused railway lines.

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GROUPS and organisations interested in managing Staffordshire's countryside estate still have time to make their application.

Applications for the tendering process, the formal start to finding the sites' new caretakers, are being taken and groups have until March 17 to do so.

Staffordshire County Council's countryside estate has six country parks, nine picnic areas and three disused railway lines, and is well-used and highly valued by its communities.

Mark Winnington, cabinet member for economic growth at Staffordshire County Council, said: “This is the next important step in our project to help and find an effective way of running our countryside estates and protecting them for future generations to enjoy.

“We have always said that the estate will remain in the ownership of the county council, but the question has always been how best to manage the diverse country parks, greenways, picnic and other areas for everyone's benefit and enjoyment in an affordable manner.

“We know there are lots of different organisations, groups and businesses out there with the passion, skills and know how to run our estates.

“This is now their opportunity to come forward and submit their tenders to take over the day-to-day management of some of our sites."

Organisations can make their application online.

Following three months of formal consultation on the future management of the countryside estate in January 2016, four preferred options were submitted and agreed by the county council's cabinet last June.

The proposals recommend pursuing a mixture of two options for the sites.

One suggests transferring management on a site-by-site basis to local community, or voluntary sector groups.

The other proposes establishing partnerships of landowners from the public, private and charity sectors to manage all green spaces in an area.

Over 60 groups attended two open days in September 2016 in order to find out more about taking over management of the sites.

To find out more about the tendering process contact countryside manager Emma Beaman on 01785 277240 or email emma.beaman@staffordshire.gov.uk.

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